through the chaos, making sense

Degrassi: TNG | Declan/Fiona | R | ~2,189

They're Hansel and Gretel except she's the one in the cage. The decision to set her free has always been his.

A/N: Future!fic. I haven't watched the show in a while, though I know a little about Fiona's story lines so I've tried to at least nod at canon. Inspired by the mix I made, we all have a story to tell (this is mine), particularly the song Don't Stop Swaying. Obvious warning: incest.

Time moves quickly, speeding by amidst heartbreaks and drama and life, and one day she's not a girl anymore, though she didn't see it coming; her fingers itch to hold on to all the things sliding through her grasp but they're not hers to keep so she lets them go and wonders if that's what it means to be an adult. Fiona always dreamt of a future shaped from her own dreams but she's not surprised to end up following someone else's, and at least this way her mother's proud of her, though her smile, as always, is that little bit too strained. She's not the golden child (she never wanted to be).

High School seems like nothing more or less than a dream, a memory of people she knew for an instant, and sometimes she's reminded that they're real but mostly she lets herself forget because it's easier that way. Holly J stays in touch, phone calls here and there, updates and questions and pleasantries, and Fiona appreciates it, she really does, but the moment she disconnects it all fades away again.

Her life has been full of inconsistencies – cities, school, college, people – and she thinks that she's made half of it up, if she can recall much of it at all. Her father says it's called growing up. Her mother says it's called medication. Fiona drinks too much wine and doesn't say anything.

New York City is home as much as anywhere, and one apartment's as good as another, she supposes. She has friends here, copies of the same people with different problems, and she cares as much for them as she can, though between the pills and the workload and the apathy it doesn't amount to much.

People tell her she's a good person, and they mean it.

Fiona just wants someone to tell her she's fucked up and that's okay.

Declan isn't around much. She isn't sure whether that's his choice or their parents or even hers, but she's never gotten over how much it still feels like rejection; he used to be able to finish her sentences before she'd even started speaking, now he blinks in surprise when she orders red wine instead of white.

"This is Cheryl," he says, arm wrapped around the waist of the next in a never-ending line of girls bound to bore him to tears within a month. She's blonde because that's Declan's type right now; before that it was girls with brown eyes, and before that girls with Southern accents. He never dates brunettes, and she never comments on it.

Fiona nods hello, pours herself another glass, and doesn't ask whether Cheryl's breasts were a present from Daddy for her eighteenth birthday.

Declan's telling a story about their childhood, glossed over because nobody wants to hear about co-dependant siblings unless they're shrouded in innocence and that's something the two of them have never been, but Fiona's stopped listening, focusing instead of the way the lights are too bright and the music's too loud and wondering if maybe she shouldn't be drinking while medicated but her Doctor hadn't said anything when she'd prescribed her latest dosage so Fi takes that as a green light.

Later, Declan asks if he and Cheryl can stay with her because it's late and cabs across the city are such a pain, and Fiona says yes, of course, because he's her brother and that's what she's supposed to do. She lies in bed and imagines she can hear them having sex even though they're on the other side of her apartment and she'd never buy somewhere with such thin walls. She wonders if all these girls think Declan's sweet, think he cherishes their time together, and pities them because she knows better. In a few months Declan won't remember Cheryl's name, and Fiona probably won't either depending on how clouded her head is at the time.

In the morning, Declan kisses Cheryl over the breakfast counter as Fiona leans against the refrigerator sipping at her coffee and watches them; Declan looks up and catches her eye and when Fiona refuses to look away he just kisses Cheryl harder. Fiona supposes he's making a point, though she's not sure he's worked out what it is yet.

Her mother sets her up with nice young boys from upstanding families and doesn't mention the thorough background checks she does on them all first. When that doesn't work she tries pretty young girls, and Fiona supposes it's her way of being accepting, but she's more bored than anything. All of them are the same, regardless of gender, and she'd rather face life trapped in eternal singledom than risk tedium.

Her therapist tells her that the drugs reduce the sex drive. Fiona's pretty sure that's not the problem. She doesn't say I'd still fuck my brother because they'd put her on suicide watch again like that has anything to do with it, and it's not like she hasn't come to terms with it all herself over the years anyway.

Declan's latest girlfriend is blonde and French. Fiona wonders if this is the start of a new phase.

"Lucy's going to be an architect," Declan says over dinner, and their parents make all the appropriately impressed noises.

"I still have a year of studying left," Lucy says in perfect English, her accent tumbling across the words prettily. "But hopefully."

"Fiona used to design things," her mother says, "clothes though, not buildings."

"How lovely," Lucy says, glancing at Fiona beneath her eyelashes and smiling. Fiona smiles back and thinks yes, how lovely because Declan has his games and she has hers.

Later she finds Lucy wandering the corridors in search of a glass of water and kisses her against the bathroom door, fingers slipping beneath the silk nightgown she knows was a gift from Declan.

Declan shoots her a glare over breakfast and Fiona smiles back and wonders if he knows his jealousy's irrelevant and unnecessary.

"How's Florence?" he asks, and she'd mistake his interest as genuine if she didn't know him better.

"Beautiful," she says. "How's Samantha?"


She laughs and pushes her sunglasses further up her nose and doesn't tell him he's a bastard even though that's one of the things she loves most about him.

"Holly J called," he says after a moment. "She wanted to know if we were around next week. I told her you were out of town but I'd be more than happy to catch up."

"Really?" she says, because this isn't the usual game and Holly J is not the usual girl, they both know that.

"She's not married, right?"

"Don't be cruel, Declan," Fiona says sharply because that's exactly what he meant to be.

He sighs. "You're right," he says. "I'm sorry."

"Meet me in Rome?" she says, and it's forgiveness there for the taking.

Italy is bright and beautiful and alive and Fiona loves it because it's everything she's not.

She loves it more when Declan's with her because then it becomes everything she could maybe one day be.

"Let's just never go home," she says as they're sipping Pernod in a courtyard in Prague, because it's what she always says and not because she expects him to say yes, but there's a moment after the words have been spoken when he looks torn, like he wishes he could agree, and Fiona feels the shift through her whole body. "Oh," she says. "Oh."

"Don't, Fi," Declan says, and he looks scared and resigned. "Don't make something of it."

"I don't need to make anything," she says. "It's already there."

He sighs. "It can't be."

"Who says?"

"Everyone," Declan laughs bitterly, gulping at his drink and not looking at her.

Fiona smiles because she knows her brother better than he knows himself.

Her mother scolds her for being gone so long and then smiles when Declan brings in their bags because he can do nothing wrong in her eyes (until he does). She asks them about their trip and isn't suspicious because, after all, that silly little thing was only a momentary blip on the radar years ago, and besides, Fiona's been drugged to oblivion ever since.

Fi wonders if all parents are so unobservant or if it really is just a trait of the obscenely rich.

Declan's fingers slide briefly and deliberately across her arm as he walks past to kiss his mother's cheek, and it's the first time he's touched her since he admitted to something he never wanted to admit to. Fiona's had a lifetime of perfecting a straight face, but she can't stop the way her toes curl inside her shoes.

She hasn't felt anything in such a long time. Her therapist tries to retrace the threads, asks about her childhood, her school friends, her boyfriends, and never thinks to ask even though Fiona knows the exact moment, remembers the tears and recriminations and feeling like her whole world was coming to a standstill because he didn't need her, too.

Except Fi should have known that wasn't true, should have known that he was just the one too scared of everything to let himself feel anything at all. Maybe she did know. Maybe she's just been waiting patiently for years and years and years for him to catch up, but she can't wait anymore, not with the promise of something, anything, more.

They're Hansel and Gretel except she's the one in the cage. The decision to set her free has always been his.

Her father suggests they all go out for dinner, Thai food perhaps, and Fiona starts to nod when Declan says he can't.

"I've got a date," he says, and she can't breathe. They've been gone weeks and Declan doesn't plan things in advance which means this is new, something he's arranged since, and for a moment she hates him completely.

"Oh," her mother says, "of course sweetie. Have fun."

Fiona wonders is this is just another game to him, and for the first time she doesn't have the energy to play along.

She doesn't sleep but that's not a new thing so she won't give him the credit. The darkness is comforting and she re-writes history against the ceiling with the tips of her fingers until the door cracks open and he comes in without permission like he always used to, once upon a time.

"Fi," he says, and his voice is broken, like he's been crying, and she wonders if they're tears for him or tears for her, or if the two are as interchangeable as they've always been.

She doesn't say anything but she turns her head as he lies down, close enough that their noses are almost touching, almost but not quite.

"I'm sorry," he says, and she forgives him because he means it and because she's had a lifetime to make sense of this world they've created but he's only just accepting it. She remembers being afraid and she wishes she could protect him from that but maybe the strength only comes from making it through the other side.

He brushes a strand of hair behind her ear and his fingers are trembling. They haven't shared a bed since they were children; even during their most co-dependant teenage years there were still lines they didn't cross, even if they weren't full aware of what it meant, then.

She can feel his breath on her cheek and waits because this is his moment, not hers. (They're pieces on a chessboard and she's the Queen waiting to be captured so the game can finally be over. She supposed he's the white knight but they've always avoided clichés so maybe not.)

He kisses her and the world doesn't burst into color but gets darker still. That's okay; Fiona's never been scared of the dark.

It's soft and chaste until it's not, and Fiona's chest feels heavy with everything she's been waiting so long for, Declan's fingers pressing bruises into her hips as he draws shapes on her skin with his tongue. She arches up against him, nails sinking into his skin, marking him as he marks her back, and it would be too much if she hadn't imagined it a million times.

His fingers catch on the straps of her nightgown and he frowns, unused to not having the upper hand.

Fiona presses her smile into the curve of his shoulder and takes charge.

"What do we do now?" Declan says, his chest rising and falling as his breathing evens out. Fiona curls her fingers over his heart and drums the beat against his skin.

"We live," she says, and his smile is small but real.

"How? We can't be free. Can't be honest."

"We'll get lost in the forest," Fiona says. "Society's led us there anyway."

Declan runs his thumb over the curve of her knee and says, "Could you live in the dark forever, though?"

Fiona smiles and it's not nice because it's real for the first time in a long time.

"Oh," she says, looking into his eyes, "I'm already there."